Unizul students on rampage

2009-11-05 00:00

UNIVERSITY of Zululand students went on the rampage on Tuesday night and in the early hours of yesterday morning, burning a dining hall down and damaging a number of other buildings, police said.

“I can confirm that the university property was damaged last night. A case has been opened and no arrests have been made,” said Captain Thulani Zwane.

According to student leaders at the university, a dining hall was completely destroyed and the student representative council offices, the library and computer labs were damaged when students allegedly stoned them.

“Police had to fire rubber bullets to disperse students,” said ANC Youth League branch chairman Thabani Mthabela.

Xolani Ngwezi, the secretary of IFP-aligned student wing Sadesmo, said the ANC-aligned student wing, the SA Students’ Congress (Sasco), is behind the damage.

He said Sasco leaders walked out of a meeting called to resolve a serious impasse over the student representative council (SRC) elections.

Sasco was declared the winner of last month’s SRC elections after Sadesmo failed to submit its candidate list on time.

The institution’s attempts to persuade Sasco to allow Sadesmo to enter the elections failed and the university took the matter to court.

The Tuesday meeting was called by the head of student services, Dr Mandla Hlongwana, in a attempt to persuade leaders from both organisations to form a students’ governance structure to look after students’ issues pending a court decision.

Sadesmo’s national spokesman, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, called the damage to property shocking, and said they strongly appeal to the police to bring all the culprits to book.

“Moreover, we are concerned that the exam process has been disrupted and unnecessary trauma has been inflicted on innocent students.

“Sasco has totally compromised the collective safety of students and that is unacceptable. Such barbaric and lunatic behaviour is disgusting,” said Hlengwa.

Sasco’s secretary at the institution, Themba Mkhize, distanced the student wing from the acts of vandalism. He accused Sadesmo of using dirty tactics to press for a new SRC election.

Mkhize blamed the university’s management for delaying the installation of a Sasco SRC.

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